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Identifying a problem, determining the best solution and choosing the most effective method are all parts of the critical thinking process. After executing the plan, critical thinkers reflect on the situation to figure out if it was effective and if it could have been done better.

As you can see, critical thinking is a transferable skill that can be leveraged in several facets of your life. But why is it so important for nurses to use? We spoke with several experts to learn why critical thinking skills in nursing are so crucial to the field, the patients and the success of a nurse.

Keep reading to learn why and to see how you can improve this skill. You learn all sorts of practical skills in nursing school, like flawlessly dressing a wound, taking vitals like a pro or giving an IV without flinching. They flex this mental muscle each day they enter the floor.

How I study for nursing exams / NCLEX-RN / critical thinking / powerpoint

Nursing school offers a multitude of material to master and high expectations for your performance. But in order to learn in a way that will actually equip you to become an excellent nurse, you have to go beyond just memorizing terms. You need to apply an analytical mindset to understanding course material. One way for students to begin implementing critical thinking is by applying the nursing process to their line of thought, according to Vest.

Nursing students often find that there are multiple correct solutions to a problem. Using the nursing process, students can narrow down their options to select the best one. When answering questions in class or on exams, challenge yourself to go beyond simply selecting an answer. Start to think about why that answer is correct and what the possible consequences might be. Good nurses continue to soak up knowledge and continually improve throughout their careers. Likewise, they can continue to build their critical thinking skills in the workplace with each shift. Understanding how a seasoned nurse came to a conclusion will provide you with insights you may not have considered and help you develop your own approach.

Peers and fellow healthcare professionals are not in the chain of command. Clear understanding and proper utilization of the chain of command is essential in the workplace. Nowadays there is more emphasis on machines and technical aspects of nursing, but critical thinking plays an important role. You need it to understand and anticipate changes in your patient's condition. You must be able to quickly and confidently assess situations and make the best care decision in each unique scenario.

It is in situations like these that your critical thinking skills will direct your decision making. The more you practice it, the better you will become and the more naturally it will come to you. Learn about how else you can position yourself to climb the ranks in your nursing career in our article, " Nursing Career Advancement: 7 Ways to Stand Out in Your Scrubs.

It has since been updated to include information relevant to There are some errors in the form. Please correct the errors and submit again. By requesting information, I authorize Rasmussen College to contact me by email, phone or text message at the number provided. There is no obligation to enroll. Kristina is a Digital Writer at Collegis Education where she creates informative content on behalf of Rasmussen College. Reliability was determined by means of internal consistency and test—retest stability over time, although the validity of the construct was assessed by means of confirmatory factor analysis.

Cronbach's alpha coefficient for the whole instrument was. The intraclass correlation coefficient was. From this, the ability of the nursing professional to improve the quality of care depends in large measure on developing critical thinking skills, especially to improve diagnostic accuracy and to be able to contribute in a favorable manner to more positive results in the health of the patient Lunney, The measurement of the level of critical thinking has been the focus of various studies over the past three decades.

The report also concluded that components of critical thinking include cognitive abilities and attitudinal disposition. A definition of critical thinking has emerged from nursing authors. Quite a few instruments have been reported in the literature for measuring critical thinking. The most widely used standardized instruments are those derived from the definition of the APA as a theoretical base.


The majority of the instruments measure critical thinking ability in the training of nursing professionals but not in their clinical practice, which is a relevant area if we consider that it is an essential competence for the providing of quality care in the setting of today's health care. The first of these, the PCs, are a pattern of intellectual behavior attitudes, beliefs, and values that function as an activating element in thinking ability.

The third, the IAs, are the abilities that allow for therapeutic communication and for obtaining information that is relevant to the patient. And finally, the fourth component, the TAs, is the knowledge and expertise in procedures that are part of the discipline of nursing. The CTIs are descriptions of behavior that encourage critical thinking in clinical practice. Competence in critical thinking is, then, the result of the combination of attributes in relation to these four dimensions.

But no study was found that made the conceptual and structural posits of the model fully operative. With the aim of validating the content, it was referred to a committee of six expert professionals in clinical practice and education who had worked in the area of critical thinking. They were chosen following the selection criteria laid out by Leape, Park, Kahan, and Brook regarding suitability, heterogeneity, expert knowledge of the subject, and availability. The experts were also asked to make suggestions about how the items might be improved.

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Items that did not score as acceptable were reviewed, as were the suggestions by the experts for their improvement. These 13 items were eliminated from the instrument and 12 items were revised to improve clarity in response to comments from the experts, yielding a final total of items. The time required to complete the questionnaire was 20—25 minutes. After debriefing of the volunteers, it was decided that no further changes in design or content were in order. The study excluded emergency units, operating theatre, and central services or other in which patient are not hospitalized.

All nurses working in these units were invited to participate in the study. Nurses who leave at the time when the study data were being compiled were not included.


Sociodemographic, professional, and academic information regarding the sample was collected by means of a form made up of 11 questions. Participants were informed about the authorship and purpose of the research, and were told that all data would remain anonymous and confidential. Study instruments were anonymously distributed in unsealed envelopes to enable the nurses to return the completed questionnaires in sealed envelopes. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize the data collected.

The CFA was carried out with structural equation modeling and the estimation of parameters was made using the maximum likelihood model. Response rate was The majority of the sample were women Most were working full time Half had undergone postgraduate education It ranged from. In the analysis of the interitem correlations, no value below.

Critical thinking ppt

These results suggest that none of the items should be eliminated Kline, The ICC for the whole instrument was. However, in light of these values and bearing in mind the problems associated with the use of this test alone, it was felt that other statistical tests were needed to evaluate the theoretical model in question.

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None of the variances or correlations yielded values deemed to be inappropriate to the extent that the proposal would be invalidated. Figure 1 offers a graphic representation of the results of the model. The values that appear with the arrows between the circles latent variables and the squares variables indicate the factor load; the correlations between the circles are represented by means of bidirectional arrows.

At the top of the squares are the residual variance values.

The Importance of Critical Thinking Skills in Nursing

The first variable associated with each latent variable has a regression value of 1. The need to develop an instrument to assess critical thinking in clinical nurses arose from the observation, in the context of a review of the scientific literature, that most instruments were not specific to the nursing profession or else had been designed to measure critical thinking in student samples for the evaluation of specific educational endeavors. Critical thinking as an essential skill to support EBP and can contribute positively to patient outcomes.

Furthermore, it was felt to be essential to be able to measure critical thinking based on a theoretical model that was complex enough to engage the construct in an effective manner, a relevant consideration, given the complexity of the model. The multidimensional concept of critical thinking has been upheld by most theoreticians in the field Facione, who argue that critical thinking is comprised of a series of abilities that must be understood to be interrelated.

And the questionnaire was shown to be extremely viable, given that all but two participants filled it out in its entirety.

How to Get Your Nursing Students to Think Critically

The ICC would seem to indicate that the questionnaire possesses good stability over time. Subsequent studies with broader samples would serve to verify the results obtained in the present study with increased robustness. Futures studies are needed to investigate the tool's value to measure in the quality of care and patient outcomes.

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This study is not without limitations.